2020 housing forecast – San Lorenzo Valley, Scotts Valley, and Santa Cruz

2020 real estate forecast for Santa Cruz County including San Lorenzo Valley and Scotts Valley, by M.C. Dwyer, REALTOR

The Washington Post published an article this week that surveyed over half a dozen real estate and financial economists: the National Association of Realtors, REALTOR.com, Redfin, Zillow, the National Association of Home Builders, the Mortgage Bankers’ Association, and BankRate.com

Treehouse crooked

30 year fixed mortgage rates are expected by most experts to stay below 4% this year.   In a rare move, the Federal Reserve actually came out and said they did not intend to move interest rates this year.   For perspective, early last year interest rates were projected to be increasing.    Currently the 30 year fixed mortgage rate is averaging 3.7% – it was 4.5% this time last year.    Looking back at 2000, rates were around 8%.     Low rates are an incentive for buyers, making property more affordable…but they also allow people who otherwise might consider selling to instead refinance and take money out for home improvements (or other goals).

Inventory is expected to remain low, challenging buyers.   People who in the past might have considered selling and moving up or down, are instead staying in their homes longer and improving them instead of moving.    Another constraint is the new tax laws only allow a maximum of $10,000 tax deduction for state and local taxes – including property taxes – otherwise known as the SALT cap.    Although the House voted to increase this to $20,000 at the end of 2019, it still needs to pass the Senate before it goes to the President.

In many markets across the country, new homes are being built, but in Santa Cruz County this is rare. The exception is Scotts Valley which has several new developments in process.   New home building is up nationally, but during the 2010 decade new construction was at the lowest level in 60 years.     That ten year low in building activity, combined with the millennial segment which, as they move in to their 30s, is transitioning from being renters to becoming first time homebuyers, puts the national housing shortage at around a million homes.

Prices, according to these half dozen real estate economists, are expected to range anywhere between less than 1%, to up between with 4% at the top end of predictions.   Another housing forecast I follow – CoreLogic – predicts prices up 5% during 2020.   Freddie Mac forecasts prices up 2.8% for the year.    But these are broad based, national predictions.

Locally, Santa Cruz County home prices are heavily influenced by the real estate market and economic conditions in the Silicon Valley and greater Bay Area.   The Silicon Valley continues to lead innovation and attracts some of the brightest minds in the world.   The California Association of REALTORs’ economist, Leslie Appleton Young, states that Santa Cruz unemployment is about 4.6% while South Bay and San Francisco are under 2.5%.     She notes about 850,000 new jobs have been added in the Bay Area between 2010 and 2018, but only 183,000 new home permits were issued, making the housing shortage here worse.

I expect the lower end of the market –entry level priced homes– to remain strong, while higher end properties may experience weaker prices.     Entry level homes are likely to have more buyers making offers, and go into escrow within two weeks to a month if priced close to value and in reasonable condition.    I expect upscale properties to take longer – from several weeks to several months – before going into escrow with a buyer.    Properties that are priced too high will linger on the market longer…

To read the whole article, click https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/01/06/experts-predict-what-housing-market-will-bring/

California Association of REALTORs’ economist, Leslie Appleton Young’s latest presentation https://car.sharefile.com/share/view/se19bf2af49f4f659

M.C. Dwyer, MBA, REALTOR 831-419-9759  mcd@mcdwyer.com

CAL BRE License 01468388

Santa Cruz County El Nino Resources

I was just reading a post on Next Door from the County Communications Manager Jasin Hoppin – and thought it worth sharing in case you aren’t subscribed to Next Door.

Communications Manager Jason Hoppin from County of Santa Cruz

Hi everyone,

It’s Jason…

It’s been raining a lot, obviously. Winter weather has clearly arrived – something a lot of us have forgotten about — and with it comes a lot of questions about what resources the County has available for people. We’ve collected all of them on our El Niño page:www.santacruzcounty.us/elnino. From there you can get access to everything from how-tos on creating a family preparedness plan to sandbag locations to current road closures (unincorporated areas only) to stream levels and more. Use it, bookmark it, and let me know if there’s something you need but can’t find. And please pay attention to high surf and flood warnings. We’ve lost four people off the coast between Marin County and Santa Cruz County in the last few days. Mother Nature wins every time.

San Lorenzo Valley and Scotts Valley Home Prices – August 2014

The Mercury News reports the housing market is cooling off across the San Francisco Bay Area, where median sales prices rose 10% year over year.*     I consider this as a good sign, as prices have already recovered to their pre-2007 level in several counties. Alameda is about even, but Santa Clara and San Mateo have appreciated beyond the last peak.   Continued price appreciation would be unsustainable as housing gets too expensive for the entry level buyer.   It’s the first time buyer that allows would-be move-up buyers to sell their homes and reinvest into homes that better suit their needs.

Spoiler alert – look at the charts below to see a possible upcoming change in the Scotts Valley and San Lorenzo Valley balance between buyer and seller during the first 2 weeks of September.

Average home prices rose 5% in the San Lorenzo Valley between August 2013 and 2014, and 6.7% in Scotts Valley year over year.

Days on Market increased in both regions: SLV rose from 43 days to 50 days, while Scotts Valley rose from an astonishingly low 19 days to a more reasonable 53 days.     But that doesn’t mean buyers can dilly dally around: 30% of SLV homes were in escrow within 2 weeks; similarly 31% of Scotts Valley homes were in escrow within 2 weeks.

Number of Homes Sold was incredibly stable year to year: 37 homes sold in the SLV during August 2104 vs. 39 homes the previous year.     16 homes sold in Scotts Valley each August.

2014 SLV & SV home prices 1st half of 2014, vs. 1st half of 2013

Town Price




Average Price 2014 Days on


Sales Price

  1. List Price
Boulder Creek +23% 68 $439,431 52 98.75%
Brookdale +4.6% 4 $377,638 22 96.7%
Ben Lomond +33% 31 $560,713 40 98.8%
Felton +10% 39 $462,077 52 99.5%
Scotts Valley +6.6% 81 $801,405 60 99%

Where is the market headed next?   To address this question, I look at the balance of housing inventory (the number of homes on the market) compared to buyer demand. For the first 8 months of 2014, we had less than 6 months of housing inventory – considered a sellers’ market, because there were more buyers competing for homes.   It’s too early to predict a solid trend with just half a month’s data in September – but I’m watching this!

SLV_Housing_Inventory_2014-09-12 Scotts Valley Months of Inventory        

SV_Housing_Inventory_2014-09-12                SLV Months of Inventory

Looking to buy a home? Call me – the market looks like it may finally be tipping in your favor!   Still, there are several important tips I’d be happy to share with you, so you are in the best possible position to take advantage of today’s low mortgage interest rates, still under 4.5% for most buyers.

Thinking about selling? Check with me – your home may be worth more than you think!      I can come take a look at your property and help you create a checklist for the most cost effective, proven techniques for getting your house ready to sell. Then I can give you a market value range.   Are you worried about how to buy a home at the same time as you’re selling?   I’ve several strategies I’d be happy to share with you.   There are ways to handle the timing.   Call me: let’s create a plan that’s comfortable for you.

What are people saying about buying / selling with MC?   Click here to find out!

Call MC Dwyer, Century 21 Showcase REALTORs, (831) 419-9759.

*Source: Core Logic Data Quick / Mercury News

**Source: single family homes sold through MLSListings.com, zones 34-37, excluding an unusually high priced $2.25 million property sold in Boulder Creek in 2013, and zones 39-41.


Holiday Events: Santa Cruz and Santa Cruz Mountains

Christmas_Tree_by Jorge Barrios_2013-11-26Here’s a guide I’ve compiled of Holiday Events in and around Santa Cruz, including Holiday Events in the San Lorenzo Valley and Holiday Events in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

If you don’t see your event here, please comment so everyone else can see it!    Thanks.

11/15-12/8  Theater – UCSC Theater Arts Main State – Santa Cruz Shakespear – Its a Wonderful Life    tickets & info: http://www.shakespearesantacruz.org/season/ or 459-2159

11/27 – 1/5 Gift Show – Saratoga – Aegis Gallery of Fine Arts – 14531 Big Basin Way

11/29        Boulder Creek Tree Lighting – 5-8 pm – Santa, Caroling, Carriage Rides, Face Painting, Family Dance Party

Nov. 29 and 30; Dec. 7, 8, 14, 15, 20, 21, 22 and 23   Holiday Train: cider & caroles, Santa & Mrs. Claus – Beach Boardwalk, 400 Beach St., Santa Cruz        5pm, 6:30 & 8 pm – tickets $19 kids/$26 adults roaringcamp.com

11/30-31    Craft Fair – Felton Firehouse    9-4 pm

11/30         Felton Tree Lighting 5-7 – downtown – photos with Santa, Caroling, Hot Chocolate

11/30         Surfin’ Santa – Capitola Beach – Free!  noon capitolasoquelchamber.com

12/4           Scotts Valley Christmas Tree Lighting – 5 pm SV Community Center http://www.scottsvalleychamber.com

12/5           Valley Churches United Emergency Food Pantry – Boulder Creek – Fundraising Dinner at Scopazzi’s- 6-10 pm  RSVP by    11/29 to enter a special drawing   Auction & Raffle  Tickets $55 advance-$60 Door 336-8258 ext. 221

12/6           Winter Art Market at the Tannery Arts Center – 1050 River St Santa Cruz – 6 pm

12/7           Peacock Christmas Tree Farm – Loma Day Fundraiser – Summit – 17950 Mt Charlie Road 8 am -4:30 pm   www.peacocktreefarm.com     plus wine tasting Loma Prieta Winery

12/7           Lighted Boat Parade – Capitola – Free!  5:30 pm Santa Cruz Small Craft Harbor, 135 Fifth Ave 818-2271

12/8           Grey Bears 40th Annual Holiday Dinner  – Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium  11:30 – 1:30 with dance troupes!  http://www.greybears.org/

12/9           Snow Night in Downtown Santa Cruz – 5-8 pm Pacific Avenue http://www.downtownsantacruz.com

12/11-12    Holiday Gifts and Crafts Faire – Felton-Henry Cowell State Park 10 am – 5 pm http://www.mountainparks.org

12/15         Mad Hatters Holiday Tea Party at Quail & Thistle Tea Room – Capitola – Children: 11,1, 3:30, Adults: 6pm    benefits Toys for Tots:  santacruzcounty.toysfortots.org    purchase tickets: brownpapertickets.com/event/497290

12/31         New Years’ Eve Party – Santa Cruz – Cocoanut Grove – http://www.cocoanutgrovesantacruz.com


 Photo credit http://www.flickr.com/people/38074672@N00


Loch Lomond is Open in the Santa Cruz Mountains

Today, March 1st, marks opening day at Loch Lomond  

Lovely Loch Lomond is a pristine mountain lake located in the Lompico area of Felton – about half an hour from Santa Cruz.   (see directions below)

Image Anglers, hikers, and picnickers can enjoy this quiet reservoir –(no motor toys allowed) – plus some great weather this weekend!    If you’re a boater, know that this lake is part of the water supply system for Santa Cruz, so no outside boats are allowed to be brought in.   This is because the pipelines need to be kept clear of invasive species.   But you can rent a boat there, or contact the park rangers about leaving your own boat there.    Recreation Area staff can be contacted by calling 831-335-7424 for more information. A substantial boat rental fleet is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

From Santa Cruz, San Lorenzo Valley or Scotts Valley, take Graham Hill Road to Zayante Road.    Follow Zayante for a few miles, then take a left on Lompico Road.   After a few miles take a left on West and go up to the top of the mountain.    There are signs along the way.

Up at the top of West, I’m about to list a wonderful cabin with end-of-the-road privacy and a delightful separate studio/out building…within walking distance to the Lake!   Contact MC Dwyer for details…(831) 419-9759

Click here if you’d like help finding or selling your dream home near Santa Cruz

Call/text/e-mail me to post your upcoming events anywhere in the Santa CruzMountains

Holiday Events in the San Lorenzo Valley

November 23rdFriday5-8 pm – Boulder Creek Holiday Event

Come join this wonderful small town event –  caroling and music, face painting, and the lighting of the tree.   Gather at the main stage in the parking lot behind Boulder Creek Hardware for Santa’s arrival and the tree lighting… Santa Claus arrives at 6 pm.   Horse drawn carriage rides depart from in front of Jenna Sue’s*.    The Jazzercise dancers will perform, and later Santa and Mrs. Claus will be at Boulder Creek Pizza and Pub for pictures*.     *Carriage Rides & Photos cost $5 – proceeds go to the Canpaign for lighting downtown – BCBA.net


November 24thSaturday 5-7 pm – Felton Holiday Tree Lighting

A fire truck will bring Santa Claus in to town, and carolers will sing on the deck in front of Felton Feed.   Join fellow Feltonians for refreshments and photo opportunities with Santa!


December 1stSaturday 5-7 pm – Ben Lomond Holiday Tree Lighting

Santa will be at the fire station in the center of town.  Sing along with carolers as you sip hot cocoa and light up the tree…



Click here for more information about the communities of San Lorenzo Valley


Call/text/e-mail me to post your upcoming events anywhere in the Santa CruzMountains 


San Lorenzo Valley Home Prices – June 2012 Market Update

San Lorenzo Valley Home Sales through June 30, 2012

Because of our proximity to the Silicon Valley, great weather and recreation opportunities, plus relatively affordable prices, the San Lorenzo Valley housing market continues to improve.   The average price of a home here rose 13% compared to the first half of 2011.    Many properties get multiple offers, over asking price, and listing periods are fairly short.    When I last posted, there weren’t enough homes on the market to match buyer demand.    In response, we’re seeing more regular home sellers begining to put their homes on the market – this is a new trend as some residents have recovered enough equity in their homes to sell, in order to move into a home that better suits their needs.


Mortgage rates for a 30 year fixed loan average below 4%, a very appealing proposition to secure ones’ future housing costs.   First time buyers are a big portion of the market, since rental rates are steadily rising.   We’re still seeing a large percentage of sales to investor buyers as well.

2012 –year to date (January 1st through June 30th)

122 homes have sold in the San Lorenzo Valley– from Boulder Creek to the town of Felton– so far this year (according to the MLS, areas 34-37).     20 homes sold in June, and the average home price for the month of June rose to $371,714.   Average prices have risen over $45,000 from where they were in June of last year at $326,370.   The average home is only on the market for about 60 days now, and homes are selling on average for 97% of list price.   This is down a bit from the winter; I believe that is because there was so little inventory then (less than 4 months).


So far this year, 19 Homes sold for over $500,000 – of these only 5 were distressed sales. The most expensive home sold this year remains the 4500 square foot home built in 2000 on acreage in a good Boulder Creek neighborhood that fetched $875,000.

In the first half of 2012, San Lorenzo Valley had 24 short sales, with 37 foreclosures (REOs).     The percentage of distressed property sales fell to 50%.

2011 –year to date  (January 1st through May 31st)

By May of last year, 97 homes had sold in theSan LorenzoValley.     The average home price was $330,273 for the first five months, and 61 of the homes sold were distressed sales, or 63%.


To find out what your San Lorenzo Valley home is worth now, click here

.Looking for a fixer in a great, walk-to-town neighborhood?    

Call/Text me about this one!

Boulder Creek Fixer Upper
Vintage 1949 redwood cabin ready for restoration!

Source: MLSListings.com, Single Family Residential Sales Closed Escrow through 06/30/12, as posted by 7/11/2012, zones 34-37


Bay Area Home Sales Up – best January in years!

Bay Area Home Sales are UP!

       At least 3 counties had their best January in 5 years or more

For the Bay Area as a whole, sales rose 6.8%.

The President of the Santa Clara County Association of REALTORS noted that “We have multiple offers on almost every sale in the lower part of the market,” said Barbara Lymberis. “If people are thinking we haven’t hit bottom, they’re wrong.”

A first time homebuyer inSan Josewas quoted to say, “Every day something new comes on the market; we go to make an offer and there’s already other people making offers,” she said. “If we’re not on it within an hour, there’s already been people making offers on it.”

Here are the median single family home prices for each county

Santa Clara        $468,500

San Mateo          $527,500

Alameda             $325,000

Contra Costa      $245,000

         Santa Cruz           $455,491

BAY AREA:        $350,000

According to DataQuick, distressed sales account for about 50% of all sales activity across the 10 county bay area region.

Overall, Bay Area prices were between flat to down 2-3% when compared to January 2011.

Santa Cruz Real Estate Price Chart
Santa Cruz County Average Home Price Chart

In Santa Cruz County, according to the MLS 106 homes sold with an average price of $455,491 during January 2012, compared to 94 sales in January 2011 with an average price of $502,331.      I prefer to look at quarterly price trends, versus monthly statistics, just because the differences month to month can be so erratic.

Click here if you’d like an estimate of your home value.

Sources: MLSListings.com



National Home Sales Update

Home Sales rose again nationally,

       showing the 3rd gain in the last 4 months, while inventory shrinks

The average home price in the Western Region fell just 2% year over year.    The median price of a single family home across the nation was $154,400, down 2.6% from January 2011.    


Inventory, or the number of homes sitting unsold on the market, shrank to just over 6 months.   This is a key indicator, since a market balanced between and equal number of buyers and sellers tends to hover around 6 months supply.       Inventory is down 20% from a year ago.

All cash sales have steadily accounted for 31% of sales.   There are a lot of investors moving their cash into real estate, picking up rental properties and vacation homes.

Foreclosures accounted for 22% of January sales.

Short sales tallied up 13% of total January sales.   One of my short sale listings just went into escrow after getting 4 all cash offers over asking price.   3 of the 4 buyers wanted to live there themselves.

To read more, turn to http://www.realtor.org/press_room/news_releases/2012/02/ehs_jan